TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Iranian Minister of Culture Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri works with a laptop as Minister for Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Va’ezi (3rd-L) and other officials stand beside him during a ceremony to launch the Freedom of Information website, Tehra, July 8, 2017.
Iran has launched a website that allows its citizens to freely seek and obtain information from all government organizations and institutions according to law.
The website was officially launched during a ceremony attended by Iranian Minister of Culture Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri and Minister for Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Va’ezi on Saturday.
The website had been operating in beta version mode for 45 days before its public launch.
The landmark step was taken roughly two years after the executive bylaw for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was prepared by the administration of President Hassan Rouhani and government institutions were notified of it.
The Act had originally been ratified at the Parliament in 2009 but had not been executed until 2015.
As stipulated in Clause 2 of the FOIA’s Article 2, “Every Iranian individual is entitled to access public information, unless banned by the law,” and every Iranian natural or legal person can submit a request for information at the designated website.
Public organizations and institutions would then have 10 days to provide the information requested. If they fail to do so, citizens would be able to file a complaint at the same website, which would then be examined by a special commission set up for that purpose.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran signs the “Charter on Citizens’ Rights” during a ceremony in Tehran, December 19, 2016.
The administration of President Rouhani has been a champion of civil rights, including unrestrained and legal access to information.
In December last year, President Rouhani unveiled the “Charter on Citizens’ Rights,” another historic step meant to enhance the implementation of civil rights, which had been one of his major campaign promises.